An assessment of use of information communication technologies in agricultural training centres: A case study of Central Kenya
Agricultural Training Centers (ATCs) have been gaining popularity since the 1960s with more and more farmers engaging in farming especially in the central Kenya region. As a Government initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture has been allocating substantial amounts of resources both human and financial to these institutions to improve their performance. In pursuit of achieving remarkable milestones towards digital evolution in the sector the Ministry identified the ATCs as areas where Information and Communication Technologies could be used to improve farmers and stakeholder’s trainings thus making agricultural information and commutation more efficient. A study was carried out in the six ATCs in central Kenya region to assess the effective use of ICTs in these institutions. Data was collected through administration of questionnaires to the staff of the six ATCs. The questions in the questionnaires were centered on demographic characteristics, availability of ICTs, various uses of the available ICTs, skills and competence possessed by the staff and the trainings which are offered that require use of these ICTs. The major findings of the study are that the ATCs in Central Kenya have various available ICTs for use by the staff who are mostly in the age bracket of 35-50years.It was evident that most of staff lacked the knowledge to use the more recent and sophisticated ICTs and where ICTs were used they were used for other purposes other than the core purpose of trainings. It is clear that the staff requires refresher causes in ICT use. From the findings it also emerged that use of internet services was both expensive and unreliable. This therefore means that there is need for upgrading and improving the current internet connections and electricity supply through local networking and power supply, consequently leading to increased bandwidth and access points.